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New Jazz pickups for my Squier?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lovethegrowl, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I first became cognizant of the growl of the single coil pickup on an Emerson Lake & Palmer rip-off of an orchestral piece by Janacek, "Knife-Edge'. Back then I was in HS, bass was a second instrument, & yes my Rickenbacher growled a bit, but I had flat wound strings-- it was a subtle growl.

    Right at the time I quit bass, I saw Chick Correa perform at Symphony Hall right down the street from Berklee College of Music, where I attendey major instrument was trumpet. This was Jan. '75, Stanley Clarke's new bass was his fabled Alembic. I never heard anything like it, so ferocious, intense, so angry. (Check out Vulcan Worlds on Correa's " Where have I known you before" album. I was very intrigued & affected by that sound. On a level I regretted abandoning the bass. (As a Berklee student I asked Steve Swallow for private lessons--he declined saying "only bass majors" get lessons from him.

    So to the point. Recently I took up bass again, & I am modding my Squire Active Deluxe V Jazz Bass to a VI string. I only paid $200 for it used. It's amazing. I'm using DR Fatbeams & with the slap switch on & the mid/hi eq turned up, I am getting something amazingly close to the Marcus Miller sound. Two problems: a) my low b is very weak, c) MMs sound is beefier. Of course that's to be expected. My pickups are standard Jazz single coils with a ceramic bar magnet, & my active eq circuit's not a Bartolini or Aguilar. (My amp gear is a Hartke LH-500 & an SWR Goliath III cab.)

    As I make the conversion to a 6 string I want to regime the sound. One option is take my Carvin J99a's off my lifeless Ibanez SR406 & put them on the Squier. However, I suspect the surprising quality of sound that I have is a result of the interface between the cheap pickups & cheap Active electronics. (Yes, I know 100, 1k &10k aren't optimal center frequencies.) Changing one (pickups) or the other (EQ) may require, or necessitate changing both. (Switching out the existing Active preamp/EQ to an Aguilar's not an option at this point.)

    So the first step is to try getting a beefier sound via an MXR m-108 eq pedal. The eq pedal could be very use full in many ways. I do perform live backing up a folk/pop/rock/jazz performer. I think the ultimate bass folk/rock accompaniment sound would come from a P or PJ bass. Nothing beats the punch of a split coil pickup & traditional hex core strings.

    I don't want to have to use several basses on one gig. In theory I could take a spectrum analysis of a P bass, & try to duplicate it on my Jazz bass using the eq pedal. Of course it will still be a compromise at best. My flexible round core DRs will never equal the hard punchy attack of a stiffer hex-core string. Furthermore, the DR Fatbeams give off a bright prominent "chif" when struck rapidly (So do "bright" GHS or D'adario hex core strings) particularly used with single coil pickups. That chifing (chiffing ?) sound isn't desirable when playing James Taylor or Bob Dylan. When playing rapid triplets or quarter notes in the lower register it can be muddy. Marcus Miller turns down the mid-hi EQ while accompanying in the background, and he produces a decent generic sound.

    If all fails I will install the Carvins, though I'm pissed off I bought them 2 months prior to the JVA 99s. I hear ceramic single coils have to have the strings aligned between the pole pieces, yet 2 people on this website report no I'll effect with the pickups after the 5-6 string conversion. Any insight or suggestions?
  2. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I read what I just wrote & it uses I didn't really articulate my point. It just seems that single coil pickups have a pretty distinct sound & to a large extent the difference between them can be variants of frequency response. Rather than going through the hit & miss process of buying various brands of Jazz pickups (& bass preamps) then installing them, wouldn't a 10 band EQ come close to attaining the same effect? ( With a 6 string bass one's pickup choices are more limited.)

    I guess that a vintage style Alnico V single cooking rapped with a large heavy coil dipped in enamel (not urethane) would bring me a step closer to getting the beefy, transient punch of a split coil. That's probably something eq-ing can't compensate for, & that's why I have such buyers remorse having bought the j99a's instead of the JV99a's (designed to pair up with a heavy split coil.) The j99a's aren't getting the job done on my Ibanez, but that's mostly cuz of the terrible stock 3 band eq of the SR 406. Who knows, they might blow away the existing Standard ceramic Jazz pickups if I put them on.
  3. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Sorry, my phones spell checker and predictive text are changing my words around. Under no circumstances did I write "Alnico V single cooking" even by accident!. I wrote coil.
  4. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast.

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Look in to Lakland/Hanson Chi-Sonics. I just installed a set in my Jazz bass and I'm totally impressed. When the neck pup is solo'd, it's like a P pickup on steroids, thick, throaty, and just made you want to scream "HELL YES!!!". The Bridge solo'd is nice, quacky and warm, very Jaco. Together, they are thick on the lows, the mids are even, not scooped, but even and not over powering, the highs are warm yet crisp. They have a vintage feel, with a modern zing.
  5. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanx, just made some email inquiries to the Hanson Co. If they allow a trial period ( like Carvin) I will pop them in. Furthermore, I might send away for the Carvin JVA 99s. Mid April I purchased the J99a's after bombarding sales & tech support with calls. By mid June the Summer Carvin catalogue boasted of a new Vintage style J pickup. My 30 trial period had expired & they wouldn't switch em out. The tech & sales department were aware of the newer pickup. That was one huge sin of omission on their part. It would be worth making them restock those pickups just to revue them (compared to three others.)
  6. L. L. Elwood

    L. L. Elwood

    Jan 22, 2004
    I've been a Jazz Bass player for the better part of 30 years... I've tried everything from the carvins to nordstrand to bartolinis, emgs, aeros, etc... The absolute best pickup I have ever heard and use today is the Seymour Duncan SJB 1. Warmth, Growl, Punchy, not too much boom, a nice top end. If you're looking for that classic jazz bass grown these are it - Hands down. They're only $100 a set too. You won't be dissappointed.
  7. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Also I am concerned about the adjective " warm" to describe the hi's of any single coil string. It seems that the audible separation of all the inherently hi overtones of bright round strings is the essence of the growl. It's a matter of balance. A robust vintage pickup could cry out for a huge treble boost that ultimately defeats the purpose of switching pickups in the first place. That is why I proposed EQing. A jazz pickup can that's clear & well defined, but a little deficient here or there can be compensated for. But there may be a less tangible factor involved, transient punch. We'll see
  8. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Thanx. I have spent lots of time talking to Seymour Duncan techs & they have discouraged 6 string use for their products. That's what was so appealing about the Carvins when I bought em. I'll call again.
  9. tedsalt

    tedsalt Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2010
    Kansas City
    lollar makes good jazz pups. I put a set in my telejazz 4 banger. wish I'd have put them in my SDAJV ...